Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Broad Museum

(detail) In the Land of the Dead, Stepping
on the Tail of a Rainbow, 2014
by Takashi Murakami 

The Broad Museum
opened September 20, 2015
designed by Diller Scofidio + Refro

The Broad Museum opened just last September. It is the new contemporary art museum in Downtown Los Angeles, built by art patrons Eli and Edith Broad. (Broad rhymes with Road.

It's great to see long lines of people that want to see art, but I preferred getting my tickets ahead of time online rather than standing on 2nd and Grand waiting to get in. 

I went with my parents back in February and it was so exciting to witness another landmark in the cultural life of Los Angeles. In the last 20 years, since I moved here, there have been a lot of changes.
The Getty Villa was completely renovated, the Getty Center was built, two big buildings were added to LACMA, the Walt Disney Concert Hall by Frank Gehry was designed and constructed, and that's just to name a few of the changes!

Then, most recently Eli and Edith Broad built this museum next to Disney Concert Hall and across from The Coburn School and MOCA Downtown, to house their vast collection of contemporary art.

This PBS video is a great quick overview, of Eli Broad, the Broad Museum and the collection.

Love the cave-like "lobby" area. It feels like you're on a potter's wheel under a big slab of clay!

Urs Fischer
Switzerland/United States, 1973

Untitled, 2012
Cast aluminium, milled aluminum, screws, LED light bulb, glass, 
wires, electrical unit, wash primer, epoxy filler, component fill primer,
waterborne base coat, polyurethane matte clear coat

Yayoi Kusama
Infinity Mirrored Room- 
The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, 2013
"an immersive installation with LED lights reflecting endlessly in the mired space."

They open the door.
You enter.
You have 45 seconds.
... and it's pretty awesome. 

There is a wait so you have to sign up for the Infinity Room as soon as you get into the museum.
I recommend that if you want to do the selfie thing, snap your shot right away and then just enjoy being in this beautiful space. Somehow it felt a lot longer than 45 seconds but it would be cool to have time sit down and just meditate in there. I found it incredibly beautiful. (By the way, if you step off that little platform you would step into water that is reflecting the light. Just a heads up.)

Robert Longo, United States, 1953

Untitled (Ferguson Police, August 13, 2014),
Diptych, charcoal on mounted paper
(This piece, below, was several feet wide and I thought it was a huge photo print at first, but it was charcoal!)

John Currin, United States, 1962

Hot Pants, 2010
Oil on canvas
(love how this guy sees himself, in the mirror!)

Checking out this work by Mark Grotjahn (1968) ...

Untitled [Dancing Black Butterflies] 2007
color pencil on paper in nine parts

Albert Oehlen
German/Switzerland, 1954

Ziggy Stargast, 2001
Oil and inkjet print on canvas
(The title pays homage to David Bowie, who used 'Ziggy Stardust' as the name of his performing altar ego, in the 1970s.)

Next, the Murakami room ...

Takashi Murakami and his 82 foot piece that stretches across two walls of a very large room
"In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow" from 2014.
Acrylic on Canvas.

The first photo at the beginning of this post is a detail of it, and it is pretty mind blowing seeing the whole thing. The artist created his work, inspired by 'existing forms and old motifs' taken from ShĂ´haku's painting Immortals, from 1764, but of course this work is "Unmistakably Murakami's."

The sculptures in the center of the room, definitely make you feel like you have entered an alternate (and very colorful) universe.

DOB in the Strange Forest (Blue DOB), 1999
Fiber-reinforeced plastic, resin, fiberlass, acrylic, and iron

detail of the 82 foot long Murakami piece 

This next work was my favorite in the whole inaugural installation. You walk into a darkened room to 9 video screens, with a different musician on each. In 2012 the artist, Ragnar Kjartansson, had invited a group of his friends to stay at an old historic estate. 

In this video installation, they all have on head phones and play simultaneously in different rooms of this old house. The recording you witness was done all in one take, and runs for over an hour. It was mesmerizing. On one screen, the artist himself plays the guitar in a bathtub. There were moments I became very emotional, all of them playing together, hearing each other and collaborating from different spaces, near to each other and separated only by walls ... I am having trouble describing it obviously, but like I said, it was mesmerizing. 

I don't know how long my mom, dad, and I were in there but if I wasn't so hungry I could have spent half the day.

Ragnar Kjartansson 
The Visitors, 2012

This is definitely not like being there with all these huge different screens, in a darkened room, but here is a video ... I'd start around 3:30 unless you have loads of time to chill.

Jenny Saville
England, 1970

In the Realm of the Mothers II, 2014
Charcoal on canvas
(This piece is enormous and is so much more incredible in person. It was difficult to photograph under so much glass, but the layers of charcoal and figures have so much movement and texture, plus her line-work is gorgeous ... it's an incredible piece.)

Up the escalator!

That tube, below, is the elevator.

El Anatsui (Ghana/Nigeria, 1944)
Red Block, 2010
Found aluminum and copper wire

This piece above was amazing. It's movable can be hung in different ways by the artist and curator depending on the space. (In the distance shot of it -the photo before last- you can get a better idea of the size!)

The little "found pieces of metal" are from around the tops of bottles of Alcohol. They are all perfectly folded (?) and crafted together with copper wire in a beautifully meticulous way, creating an effect that catches the light as it drapes on the wall. In this piece, the choice of materials carries with it layered meanings, "ranging from the effect of the colonial period on Africa to current problems facing its people, including alcoholism, pervasive poverty, and the impact of global markets on the continent's economies."

Jeff Koons
United States, 1955

Tulips, 1995-2004
Mirror-polished stainless steel 
with transport color coating

Andy Warhol
United States, 1928-1987

Self-Portrait, 1966
Acrylic, silkscreen ink, pencil, and ballpoint pen on linen

Cy Twombly
Nini's Painting [Rome] 1971
Oil based house paint, wax crayon, and lead


Untitled [Rome] 1987

Cy Twombly
United States, 1928-2011

The Rose [V] 2008
Acrylic on wood panel
99 1/4 x 291 1/4 in.

There are words in the far right of the painting, that are difficult to see in this photo. They are words of Rilke.

The Roses XXVI

Infinitely at ease
despite so many risks,
with no variation
of her usual routine,
the blooming rose is the omen
of her immeasurable endurance.

Do we know how she survives?
No Doubt one of her days
is all the earth and all
of our infinity.
~Rainer Maria Rilke
translated from French by A. Poulin Jr.

View out the window upstairs, you can see the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Roy Lichtenstein
United States, 1923-1997

Coup de Chapeau II, 1996
painted and patented bronze
91 x 13x 30 in.

Mark Tansey
United States, 1949

Achilles and the Tortoise, 1986
Oil on canvas

Jean-Michel Basquiat
United States, 1960-1988

Horn Players,1983
Acylic and oilstick on three canvas panels mounted on wood supports
(This painting is an homage to the great horn players Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. The artist himself was a musician and avid jazz listener. His improvisational style as a painter meets the improvisational style of jazz in this piece. This work, is on a pretty large scale, as are most of the works I have posted.)

Keith Haring
United States, 1958-1990

Red Room, 1988
Acrylic on canvas

Mike Kelley
United States, 1954-1012

Infinite Expansion, 1983
Six parts superimposed; acrylic on paper
(I don't know who this young lady was, but I loved how she stood staring at the piece and became part of the experience of the painting!)

My parents in a darkened room watching a film installation ...

William Kentridge
South Africa, 1955

Johannesbur- Second Greatest City after Paris, 1989;
Mine, 1991; Monument, 1990; Sobriety, Obesity and Growing old, 1991
16mm animated films

Marlene Dumas
South Africa/Netherlands, 1953

Wall Weeping, 2009
Oil on linen

Without reading the wall plaque, this painting above is very moving and quite striking. I am including, with it, the information from the website.

"Wall Weeping is derived from a photograph that depicts Israeli soldiers searching Palestinian men in front of a stone wall. Marlene Dumas’s painting, however, re-presents the photograph, focusing on a cropped section of the image without the soldiers. With this change of context, Dumas finds the appearance of the men to be negotiable, their raised arms seen just as easily as gestures of prayer as the outcome of a search. The identity of the Palestinians is able to shift in the pliable space between the cropped image and its real world explanation — Palestinians shift visually into Israelis, an ordinary wall shifts perhaps into the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. The visual connection that Dumas portrays between the long-suffering nations, in their mutual plights, suggests that social connections, which currently seem difficult if not impossible, might also be realized."

In the middle of the museum there is a stairway that takes you down through the vault, which the museum is built around. The vault houses the portions of the collection not currently on display at the museum or out on loan, and let me tell you the collection is extensive!

The Broad Museum is home to the 2,000 works of the Broad collection.

Looking through to the vault!

Robert Therrien
United States, 1947

Under the Table, 1994
Wood, metal, and enamel

(Love the feeling being Alice in Wonderland!)

Adele talking about the Infinity Room at the Broad ...

A little music treat ... Adele singing at the Brit awards, with the videos of her in the Infinity Room as the backdrop! Blow it up on your screen, if you can, because it's lovely visually. And, because ... it's Adele.

O.K. time for bed! Hope you enjoyed the visit to the Broad Museum!

Hope you are having a beautiful May!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Searching for Cypress: Monterey Bay and the 17 Mile Drive

In one drop of water are found
all the secrets of all the oceans.
~Kahlil Gibran

Monterey Bay
January 2016

After a wonderful few days over New Years in San Francisco and Sausalito, it was time to head south. I remembered from a trip I took with my family between 7th and 8th grade, how beautiful Monterey and Carmel were, and most of all I remembered the wind blown cypress trees and cool, salty air of the coastline. 

It has it's own magic, that coastline. I had wanted to do the drive through Big Sur, as well, but it's a very long windy road and it was supposed to rain. So, I decided I would search for my cypress trees in Monterey, and on the famed "17 Mile Drive" which takes you by Pebble Beach, between Monterey and Carmel.

Some beautiful Chopin, for the drive ...


The old "Cannery Rowe" area is pretty touristy. The tip off is when you see that there is a Bubba Gump Shrimp, in the vicinity. In any case, I hopped out of my car and walked around a bit. 

I was also on a quest to find the same tiny charms of the "Lone Cypress Tree" my sister and I had gotten, way back on that road trip with my folks in the old GTO. 

To me
the sea is a continual miracle;
The fishes that swim-the rocks-
the motion f the ways-
the ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?
~Walt Whitman

Some very charming places to stay ...

After stopping a couple of times to to photograph the seascape, I saw the sign directing me to the 17 Mile drive. I actually thought that meant I was getting on it, but it would be much more obvious than this.

Any chance I got to get near the coast and hop out of the car, I did. It was a little strange being by myself in this area.  It felt so mystical with only the sounds of crashing surf, the wind and seagulls, and the sound of my own footsteps and breath as I walked along the shore.

It was otherworldly and familiar, all at the same time and the turquoise of the water, as the waves crested, was incredible amongst all the other muted tones. Breathtaking.

When I arrived at the entrance to the 17 Mile Drive, it was 10 bucks and they hand you a map. See? Very obvious, when you get there. There are different routes to take, but once again, I hugged the Pacific. And, it became more and more magical as the surf and winds became rougher and the clouds darker. Mother nature was in all her symphonic glory!

The map guides you to many places to take in the view, and where you could safely park.  I stopped as many times as I could before it started to rain and the light began to fade.

The voice of the sea
speaks to the soul.
The touch of the sea is sensuous,
enfolding the body in its soft,
close embrace.
~Kate Chopin

When anxious,
uneasy and bad thoughts come,
I go to the sea,
and the sea drowns them out 
with its great wide sounds,
cleanses me with its noise,
and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me
that is bewildered and confused.
~Rainer Maria Rilke

And in the distance ...

The Lone Cypress

I will have a lot of cypress trees to paint.

Every time I stand before a beautiful beach,
its waves seem to whisper to me:
If you choose the simple things
and find joy in nature's simple treasures,
life and living
need not be so hard.
~Psyche Roxas-Mendoza

p.s. I found the cypress tree charms! ;)